From Intercultural Competence to Intercultural Citizenship - Foreign Language Teaching in 'Interesting Times'

Der Lehrstuhlinhaber des Lehrstuhls für Didaktik des Englischen, Herr Prof. Dr. Engelbert Thaler, lädt recht herzlich ein zum Gastvortrag From Intercultural Competence to Intercultural Citizenship - Foreign Language Teaching in 'Interesting Times'

30. November 2017, 18:00 Uhr
Philologisch Historische Fakultät, Gebäude D, Hörsaal 2107
Prof. Dr. Michael Byram


In the last two decades, the aims of language teaching have in theory, and to an increasing degree in practice, been extended to include ‘intercultural’ or ‘transcultural’ competence, complementing linguistic/communicative competence. The phrase coined for this is ‘intercultural communicative competence’.

Intercultural communicative competence includes the notion that learners become ‘critical’ of their own cultural groups and cultures as well as the new ones they may meet through learning a foreign language. ‘Criticality’ or ‘critical cultural awareness’ is an important educational aim in teaching ICC. In work based in Durham University but spread through a research network across the world, we have enriched this notion further by experimenting with ‘intercultural citizenship’.

Intercultural citizenship combines theory and purposes from foreign language teaching and teaching for citizenship. It has educational significance but also political significance. Language learners are encouraged to become political with an internationalist perspective.

As the times become ever more ‘interesting’,  this perspective on language teaching becomes ever more significant, as do the responsibilities of language teachers. The task is to help learners to live in societies which are ‘multi’: cultural, lingual, ethnic, faith etc.

I will illustrate these developments with experiments in teaching intercultural citizenship, and discuss links to the Council of Europe’s new Reference Framework for Competence in Democratic Culture.


Michael Byram studied languages at King’s College Cambridge, wrote a PhD in Danish literature, and then taught French and German in secondary and adult education. At Durham University since 1980, now Professor Emeritus, he is also Guest Professor at the University of Luxembourg. He has trained teachers and researched linguistic minorities and foreign language education. In the 2000s he was Adviser to the Language Policy Division of the Council of Europe. He is now involved in the CoE’s work on Competence for Democratic Culture. His most recent monograph is From Foreign Language Education to Education for Intercultural Citizenship (2008). He is also editor with Adelheid Hu of the second edition of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning, (2013) currently being translated into Chinese and Arabic, and with colleagues in several countries, he is the editor of two books which demonstrate how foreign language and intercultural citizenship education can be achieved in practice.

Bei Fragen wenden Sie sich bitte an die zuständige Mitarbeiterin des Lehrstuhls, Frau Dr. Senem Şahin:
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Meldung vom 26.10.2017